Online Buzz: Elderly Drivers and Road Safety

Mom forgets to use her car's turn signals. Dad drove through another stop sign. Are they showing warning signs of risky driving? If so, how can you know if and when it's time to take away your senior loved one's car keys?

Most older adults can drive safely well into later life, and statistically, they are some of the safest drivers on the road. When do diminishing eyesight, reflexes or memory affect being safe behind the wheel? States vary on driver's license restrictions and road testing for those older than age 65, so families and caregivers are encouraged to monitor their elder's safe-driving abilities.

Road safety experts advise periodically evaluating older drivers on the following:

  • Medical conditions—Vision problems or inability to respond quickly to road conditions can stem from underlying health conditions such as arthritis, night blindness or neurological disease.
  • Medications—Many prescriptions warn of side effects that impair drivers. Seniors taking multiple medications are more prone to mental fogginess while driving.
  • Driving skills and reaction times—Does the senior weave between lanes or drive too slowly? Is there confusion between the gas and brake pedals? What about failing to use the vehicle's mirrors?
  • Traffic violations/accidents—Seniors who accumulate two or more traffic tickets or warnings or cause two or more collisions within a two-year period may be showing signs of hampered driving.
Learn how seniors can maintain their mobility even if they must give up driving in the Right at Home blog, where you will always find the latest information about senior care and home care.

Right at Home, Inc. is a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve. We fulfill that mission through a dedicated network of locally owned providers of in home care services.